Council digs into proposed 2016 department budgets

City Council members scrutinized proposed 2016 budgets for the Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) and Regulatory Services departments Thursday during the Ways & Means-Budget Subcommittee meeting.

The mayor’s proposed budget for CPED is roughly $95.4 million, which includes funding for a range of programs and services — from city licensing to affordable housing.

Council members had several questions for CPED Director Craig Taylor about proposed spending on new programs and whether there was a competitive process to be considered for funding and a process for measuring program results.

For instance, the proposed budget includes $362,000 for the Build Youth Program, a youth violence prevention program developed in Chicago focused on 9 to 12 year olds. Council members questioned why it was part of the CPED budget and not the Health Department.

Other highlights of the proposed CPED budget include:

— $1.85 million in new funding for the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and $1 million in new funding to assist in the production of new housing for “extremely low income families” experiencing homelessness;

— $175,000 for a study examining the impact of a $12 and $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis and Hennepin and Ramsey counties;

— $350,000 for the Minneapolis TechHire program — a White House initiative designed to help jobseekers acquire skills for careers in the high-tech sector;

— $850,000 for the Great Streets program, which helps community groups revitalize commercial districts;

— $500,000 for the city to acquire commercial/industrial property;

— $155,000 for planning work for the proposed redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal;

— $100,000 for a Cedar Riverside Opportunity Hub;

— $25,000 for the Nokomis Eastside Senior Center; and

— $50,000 for a study on a Green Zone initiative led by the Little Earth and East Phillips neighborhood focused on creating a city designation for neighborhoods that “face the cumulative impacts of environmental social, political and economic vulnerability,” according to the CPED budget presentation.

The proposed 2016 budget for Regulatory Services is roughly $23.7 million, which includes funding for Animal Care & Control, Traffic Control and housing and fire inspections, among other things.

Highlights of the mayor’s proposed budget includes $550,000 in new funding for four new housing inspectors and $100,000 in new funding for HOME Line, a nonprofit that provides free legal advice to tenants.

Overall, the mayor’s proposed budget for 2016 is $1.22 billion. Budget presentations continue through November. The Council is scheduled to vote on adopting the budget Dec. 9. For more information, go to www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/budget